Remstar may ax TQS news division

Act condemned by Quebec politicians

TORONTO -- Quebec French-language network Television Quatre Saisons faces the loss of 270 jobs, or 60% of its work force, as new owner Remstar aims to phase out its news division.

The cost-cutting measure, which requires regulatory approval, was immediately condemned by Quebec politicians.

Remstar, a Montreal-based film and TV program distributor, acquired the money-losing TQS from bankruptcy protection last January. It aims to restore TQS' competitiveness with over-the-air rivals TVA Group and Radio-Canada and local cable channels.

TQS is required to air 14.5 hours of local news weekly as a condition of license. Remstar will tell the CRTC at upcoming hearings that Quebec TV already is well served by newscasts, so TQS should be allowed to eliminate its news division by Sept. 1.